Home builder customises country-style home, with help from Paal

When Gillian Irvine sold up the family homestead on land at Exeter in the Southern Highlands of NSW, she was, by her own admission, “ready to downsize and move into town”.

She found the perfect piece of vacant land in Mittagong. An elevated corner block, it provides a sense of space and a lot of privacy.

When the time came to build, Gillian chose Paal Kit Homes. “For years I admired Paal’s homes in The Land newspaper, and was always impressed with the variety of designs and floor plans.

“I’ve used architects before, but Paal offered an easy, cost-effective way to obtain the kind of home I’ve always wanted. I love early Australian architecture and wanted a timber cottage.”

Gillian chose the Windsor design, which has two frontages and is ideally suited to her corner block – although she did a lot of customising.

“I’m interested in design and really enjoyed the process of mixing up the basic floor plan to incorporate my own ideas. Michael, at Paal, was really great to work with. He encouraged me to create my ‘dream’ home and nothing was ever a problem,” she says.

The kitchen has French Provincial styling with impeccably chosen lights and accessories.

“I’ve added a large walk-in pantry, expanded the ensuite bathroom, and included a very large laundry with good storage.”

The home boasts expansive decks that offer undercover outdoor spaces in which to sit in the breeze. Because in Mittagong temperatures can drop in the winter time, inside Gillian has installed central heating throughout, plus a gas fireplace in the family room, and a wood-burning fireplace in the sitting room.

Despite the fact that her three children have grown up and are living lives of their own, Gillian still wanted to provide a family base for them to visit. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms there is plenty of room for her adult children and their partners.

The interior is a blank canvas of white walls and timber flooring. Now that the home is finished, Gillian is looking forward to personalising the space further with furniture and furnishings, and completing the landscaping.

Her vision is coming true: this is a very practical family home, which has all the charm of an antiquated country cottage, but with the luxury and modern features you’d expect from Paal.